CHAPTER 18 (continued)

Posted: July 21, 2014 in Uncategorized
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transformation definition

Sitting among those women I was reminded about the times when I had wondered what it would be like to be out in the working world making decisions more important than what to cook for lunch or when to change the linen. As important as changing linen is, I can’t imagine it an achievement I could put on my CV. I indulge myself as I think of the ridiculousness of what I would call my skills – “able to skillfully instruct and supervise the changing of linen periodically and when necessary’ – because of course it is Elizabeth who does all the heavy lifting.

To be able to contribute tangibly to something that could be useful would really be an achievement. Being recognized as Hasina and not Yusuf’s wife or the mother of my children would be a change. I don’t have any aspirations of performing open heart surgery but would like to know what it is like to be respected for who you are. Farnaz pops into my head as an example and I wonder why that is. The night before, in the study looking for clues to Yusuf’s whereabouts, it was also her that I thought of. She is a strong confident woman that made me wonder about who I had become. I look around me in the coffee shop and I am aware that a few more ladies have arrived and the hum of conversation had begun. “I just love your house” one of the new arrivals said to me after greeting. “It wasn’t on the market for long, you so lucky. We had been looking in that area but you got to it before us”. I smiled a response then replied, “Thank you. We had been looking for a while but when I saw that house I knew it was the one”. Farnaz really was quite the business woman and Yusuf’s friend had recommended her saying she had contacts in the area and usually finds the best houses. Speaking to Yusuf that day she first showed us the house, I could see even he was impressed.

A woman named Nadia got up and announced. “I think we just missing a couple of people”, she said and pulled out her cellphone to make a call with all eyes on her. She seems to like being the centre of attraction. “Tazi, where are you?” she yells into the phone with an animated look on her face. “Yes everyone else is here” she says. “You like 5 minutes late” she says accusingly, but moves the phone away to giggle. After a pause as she listens to the voice in her phone she says. “at the back by the terrace. Next to the railings, You’ll see us”. And with that she clicks the phone off and announces. “Mumtaz just arrived. I told her we at the back”.

Amina, who is seated next to me, looks and me and says shaking her head, “we all heard the whole conversation”. I smiled at her. She asks about the children and she seems genuinely interested, and we start chatting about the children’s school and complaining about the teachers. A few minutes later two woman arrive. Mumtaz introduces herself and steps aside to reveal Farnaz behind her. I can’t believe the coincidence. It was like she jumped out of my thoughts and materialized in pink chenille. Farnaz looks so different from all the times I had seen her. She isn’t the superior executive estate agent but looks just another woman out for coffee. I smile at her, Something in me is genuinely glad to see her.

Once everyone was seated, some friendly chatter began. It was superficial and satisfying. When the waitress intervenes, I take a menu any bury my head behind it trying to block out the events of the past few days. The task was unsuccessful as every sight and sound and feeling reminded me about the e mail that I had put into my handbag. Is this really something I should do? Do I really have what it takes? I had done those sketches ages ago, maybe I am not so good at it anymore?





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